The other day, flogging tickets to the school summer fair – now the autumn fair due to last term’s endless self-isolation – another parent leaned across the trestle table and squeezed my arm.
The sheer unexpectedness of it threw me. It felt as surprising as a slap. When did I last make physical contact with someone outside my immediate family? This woman wasn’t someone I knew well, despite having kids in the same class. It was, nonetheless, a gesture of unmistakable warmth, but 18 months of fear-driven pandemic precautions can be hard to shake off.